Attendance Matters | September 2019

  • We Belong In School

    Showing up for school has a huge impact on a student’s academic success starting in kindergarten and continuing through high school. Even as children grow older and more independent, families play a key role in making sure students get to school safely every day and understand why attendance is so important for success in school and in life.

    This September -- in conjunction with the National Attendance Works campaign -- we’re expanding the District's “Attendance Matters” campaign to Valley View Elementary and Columbia Academy. School success goes hand-in-hand with good attendance. We want to help your student succeed in school by building the habit of good attendance.

    Over the next few weeks, we’ll share information about chronic absences, how it affects your student’s academic trajectory and what you can do to help your student be successful.

    Keep an eye on this page for weekly updates, visuals and other resources to ensure your student’s success in school.

Challenge

  • The basis of this campaign is an attendance challenge that will run Sept. 3-30. During these weeks, we will collect data on overall student attendance at Valley View and Columbia Academy to celebrate students with consistent attendance. Each school's goal is to increase overall consistent attendance to meet the state average of 91 percent over the month of September.

    What does that mean for your student? For students to achieve 91 percent overall attendance individually, they may only miss one school day throughout the month of September.

    Who are we celebrating? Every student with 80 percent consistent attendance during this 20-day challenge will receive a small prize and be entered into a drawing to receive a prize (one student per grade level).

Resources

Attendance Matters Blog

  • Attendance Q&A

    Posted by Columbia Academy on 9/25/2019

    Is every day of school really that important?
    YES -- every day is extremely important. Missing more than one day a month has been shown to put students at risk of falling behind other and even preventing them from graduating from high school on time with their peers. 

    My child doesn’t like school. She needs to stay home at home some days because she finds school very stressful. Is that a problem?
    Staying home is not a solution to not liking school. It's important to find the root cause of a strong dislike for school. Working with school administrators, counselors or social workers is a much better way to do this than allowing students to stay home to avoid a difficult situation. Your child has a right to an education--their future depends on it!

    Are there consequences for parents if their child misses school? 
    Truancy can result in parents being required to appear in court with the real possibility of consequences ranging from required participation in parent education classes to removal of a child due to parental neglect.

    Are there different attendance rules for students who are open enrolled from a different district?
    Students who open enroll in a district other than their own must attend school regularly or they may not be able to open enroll in the same district the following year. As few as 12 absences, even if they are excused, can result in a school district requiring a student to return to their home district.

    I know my child is finding excuses to stay home because he is so unhappy at a school. What can I do? 
    The first step is to make sure you communicate with your child’s school administrators. Let them know your concerns and work together to find out what is causing your child to not like school. Often times, school staff can help identify the cause and work with you and your child to solve the issue(s). Staying home is not an effective way for a child to deal with issues at school.  

    My child has lots of anxiety about school. What should I do if they don’t want to go to school?
    Keep your child going to school as you seek help. Finding a way to help your child lower their anxiety about school may require assistance from mental health professionals. Schools can help. Your family doctor can too. Education is too important to miss. Work to find ways your child can keep learning without debilitating stress. 

    What are the stats?
    There are 172 school days a year. If your child goes to school for 160, they may be at risk of falling behind their peers. Twelve absences a year is an average of just 1 to 2 days a month -- doesn't seem like much, but it all adds up.

    Comments (-1)
  • Overcoming Attendance Obstacles

    Posted by Columbia Academy on 9/24/2019

    Attendance matters, even more than you may think. A few days absent from school here and there doesn’t seem to add up to much, but even those few days can be extremely important.

    According to research conducted by the University of Chicago, a child who misses just a couple of days of school per year is much more likely to succeed in high school than one who misses one or two days a month. Showing up matters. You can help your child do their best in school, first and foremost, but making sure they they are in school.

    Most students who miss school do so with the permission of their parent/guardian, often in response to the child saying they don’t feel well. Parents need to be careful of simply accepting this and instead, truly make sure that their child really is sick before allowing them to stay home.

    Middle school especially can be a stressful time and it's natural for students to try and avoid school or suffer some anxiety. Helping students understand it is important to get up and go to school if one is well enough -- despite not always wanting to go --is a very important lesson to learn. This requires parents to only keep kids home when there are clear signs that the child is too sick to attend school.

    Lack of sleep is another reason students often miss school. Studies show that middle-schoolers need about nine hours of sleep a night. Unfortunately, some students are getting much less than this, often due to being up late on social media or playing video games. Limiting your child’s use of electronic devices at night and getting to bed by nine- or ten-o-clock may greatly improve your child’s ability to wake up in the morning and not miss school. Tired students still need to come to school. Adjustments need to be made to increase sleep rather than keeping students home. 

    Finally, sometimes students are experiencing something difficult at school and are nervous to attend. Unfortunately, staying home means the matter is not being addressed and most likely will still be a problem when the child does return to school. School personnel can help you identify and solve the issues your child is having at school. This could be a disagreement among friends, bullying or struggling to keep up in classes. If you think your child is trying to stay home to avoid an issue at school, contact an administrator to discuss your concerns and find a solution.

    Making good decisions about whether or not your child should go to school is an important part of parenting. In the end, attendance improves when parents set a high bar for their child to stay home. It shouldn’t be easy for a child to find a reason not to be in school. Here are some questions to ask yourself the next time your child wants to stay home:  

    • Do I really think my child is so sick, tired, or troubled to the point that they can’t go to school?
    • Am I being a responsible adult or am I being permissive?
    • Is there a pattern of my child wanting to stay home that needs to be changed?
    • Very little in life is more important than getting an education. Is the issue today big enough to get in the way of that?

    Attendance matters--your child’s education depends on it! 

    Comments (-1)
  • Keeping Students Engaged

    Posted by Columbia Academy on 9/17/2019

    In Columbia Heights Public Schools (CHPS), we strive to keep students engaged in everyday learning in all of their classes. Not only is this best for student achievement, but it is also the best and easiest way to promote good attendance. However, the more ways students are engaged with special activities through the school year can help keep them more motivated and excited to attend school.

    At both the elementary and secondary level, CHPS offers ENCORE programming before and after school. ENCORE runs all year and is divided into three trimesters (each with a new variety of classes). These classes provide fun enrichment activities in areas of leadership development, art, music, computer coding, academics and more! At Columbia Academy, one of our most popular ENCORE classes is a mock trial taught by lawyers from a Minneapolis law firm. They prepare students to write their own testimonies and claims for a mock trial conducted at the end of the class with a real judge and jury.

    At the secondary level, students are also eligible for seasonal athletics and activities, and school-sponsored clubs such as Robotics, Student Council and Theater. There are a variety of clubs and sports over each season for your student to participate in. The season is just beginning for Robotics, Volleyball, Soccer and Football. 

    Activities such as ENCORE, theater and athletics provide a different type of engagement and learning for students which can be very motivating and will support achievement. However, all of these special activities outside the regular school day require regular attendance to participate. If students do not attend school, they are not allowed to participate or compete in extra activities. ENCORE Trimester one starts Sept. 30, so consider signing up your student! There is also still time to get your student involved in Fall athletics and activities.

    Comments (-1)
  • Tips for Building Good Habits for Good Attendance

    Posted by Valley View Elementary on 9/10/2019

    Did you know that attending school regularly not only helps children do better in school but it helps them feel better about school, and themselves? Your child is missed when they are not in school by their classroom and school community! It’s very important to start building good habits in preschool so students understand that going to school on time, every day is important for their success.  

    Too many absences, excused or unexcused, keep students from succeeding in school and in life. How many are too many? Chronic absenteeism is defined as 10 percent or more days missed in a school year -- that’s 18 missed days or 2 days per month. Just those alone can knock students off track by missing out on fundamental reading and math skills, lowering their test scores and decreasing their chances of graduating high school. Keep in mind, students must also arrive on time to school as tardies add up as well. 

    Let’s all do our part to reduce absences and increase student success! 

    • Have a nightly routine that incorporates a scheduled bed time, preparation for school (laying out uniform and backpacks ahead of time) and settling into a peaceful night.

    • Set a regularly scheduled alarm for the morning that works with your family’s routine.
      • It may be helpful for parents/guardians to set their alarms to go off earlier to get ready first and then help their children.

    • Create a morning routine that allows time for final preparations for school, discussing what your student has planned for the day and being on-time for school.

    • Don’t let your child stay home unless they are truly sick. Keep in mind, headaches and stomach aches can be a sign of anxiety but not necessarily a reason to stay home. 
       
    • If your child feels anxious about coming to school, talk to their teachers, the school social worker or administrators. We want to partner with you to help make your child feel comfortable and excited to come to school! 

    • Develop back-up plans for getting your student to school if something comes up. Call on a family member, a neighbor or another parent for support when you need it.

    • After school, discuss with your student what they did during the day. Encourage their in-school efforts to get them excited about going back to school.
      • VV families >> Be sure you sign up for a Seesaw account with your child’s teacher. You will find multiple posts and photos each week of what students are working on in class!

    • Use an attendance/punctuality scorecard to track your student’s attendance. A printable resource is available on the Attendance Matters page.
      • Celebrate with a fun family activity or incentive after a set number of days.

    • Establish and execute an attendance success plan with your student. Let them know how missing even one day can impact their success in school. Let them know that school is a priority.

    • Avoid medical appointments and extended trips when school is in session. View the District calendar to work around your student’s school obligations. Please see the attendance policies in the Student Rights & Responsibilities Handbook if you are planning for your student to be gone.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Comments (-1)
  • It All Adds Up

    Posted by Communications on 9/5/2019

    ItAddsUp Did you know that attending school regularly not only helps children do better in school but it helps them feel better about school -- and themselves? It’s very important to start building good habits in preschool so students understand that going to school on time, every day is important for their success.  

    Too many absences -- excused or unexcused -- keep students from succeeding in school and in life. How many are too many? Chronic absenteeism is defined as 10 percent or more days missed in a school year. That's roughly 18 missed days (or 2 days per month), which can easily knock students off track by missing out on fundamental reading and math skills, lowering test scores and decreasing their chances of graduating high school.

    Let’s all do our part to reduce absences and increase student success!

    What can families do to help?

    • Set a regular bedtime and morning routine.
    • Lay out clothes and backpacks the night before.
    • Don’t let your child stay home unless they are truly sick. Keep in mind, headaches and stomach aches can be a sign of anxiety but not necessarily a reason to stay home.  
    • If your child feels anxious about coming to school, talk to their teachers, school social worker or administrators. We want to partner with you to help make your child feel comfortable and excited to come to school!
    • Develop back-up plans for getting students to school if something comes up. Call on another family member, neighbor or parent to help get your child to school.
    • Avoid medical appointments and extended trips when school is in session.

     

    Comments (-1)
  • Bringing Attendance Home (Video)

    Posted by Columbia Heights Public Schools on 9/4/2019

    This video from Attendance Works, shows a variety of parents speaking about the importance of school attendance and making sure absences don’t add up. This video offers practical, every day steps parents can take to help their children attend school and highlights ways schools and communities can help reduce barriers to attendance.

     

    View in Spanish >>

    Attendance Everyday (Spanish) from AttendanceWorks on Vimeo.

    Comments (-1)
  • Attendance Matters: We Belong In School

    Posted by Columbia Heights Public Schools on 9/3/2019

    Showing up for school has a huge impact on a student’s academic success starting in kindergarten and continuing through high school. Even as children grow older and more independent, families play a key role in making sure students get to school safely every day and understand why attendance is so important for success in school and in life.

    TODAY, we're kicking off our “Attendance Matters” campaign at Valley View and Columbia Academy. School success goes hand-in-hand with good attendance. We want to help your student succeed in school by building the habit of good attendance.

    We realize some absences are unavoidable due to health problems or other circumstances. But, we also know that when students miss too much school— regardless of the reason – it can cause them to fall behind academically.  Your child is less likely to succeed if he or she is chronically absent—which means missing 18 or more days over the course of an entire school year. Research shows:    

    • Children chronically absent in kindergarten and 1st grade are much less likely to read at grade level by the end of 3rd grade.  
    • By 6th grade, chronic absence is a proven early warning sign for students at risk for dropping out of school.  
    • By 9th grade good attendance can predict graduation rates even better than 8th grade test scores.  

    Absences can add up quickly. A child is chronically absent if he or she misses just two days every month!

    Over the next few weeks, we’ll share information about chronic absences, how it affects your student’s academic trajectory and what you can do to help your student be successful. 

    Part of this campaign will include an attendance challenge Sept. 3-30. During these weeks, we will be collecting data on overall student attendance at Valley View to celebrate students with consistent attendance. As a school, our goal is to increase overall consistent attendance to meet the state average of 91 percent over the first month of school. 

    What does that mean for your student? Every student with 80 percent consistent attendance during this 4-week challenge (20 school days) will receive a small prize and be entered into a drawing to receive a prize (one student per grade level). For a student to reach 80 percent attendance, they must be at school a minimum of 16 full days. For an individual to meet the state average of 91 percent, they can only miss ONE school day during the month of September.

    Comments (-1)

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